Iowa GOP replaces state party chairman
By: James Hohmann
June 28, 2014 04:31 PM EDT
The Iowa GOP central committee voted Saturday to fire the state party chairman and replace him with a fixture of the establishment.
Danny Carroll, removed on a 14-2 no confidence vote, will be replaced by Jeff Kaufmann, formerly the Speaker Pro Tem of the state House.
The bloodless coup was widely expected after forces loyal to Gov. Terry Branstad officially seized control of the party’s governing body from close allies of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a state convention earlier this month. The former chairman, A.J. Spiker, stepped down this spring and became a senior adviser to RAND PAC. Carroll is a former lobbyist for the evangelical Family Leader and supported Branstad’s primary challenger in 2010.
Chad Olsen, who stepped down as the party’s executive director in May 2012 after Paul’s forces took control, will get his old job back. Cody Hoefert, from conservative northwest Iowa, replaces the co-chair, who resigned before the meeting.
Carroll chose not to go quietly, pleading to keep his job by noting that he did nothing wrong. “I’ve never presided over my own termination,” he said at the meeting, according to the Des Moines Register. “This is an awkward moment.”
“Kaufmann said he takes pride in being part of the establishment if ‘establishment’ means continuing to support Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley,” the Register reported. “But Kaufmann denied that he’s anything but a conservative Republican who has occasionally made some moderate votes.”
Party elders seek unity for the midterms and, more importantly, the 2016 caucuses.
Kaufmann, 51, was in the state House from 2004 to 2013. He has deep roots in the state, including a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from the University of Iowa.
He lives in Cedar County, where he’s a seventh-generation livestock farmer. He also teaches history and government courses at Muscatine Community College.
As he sought support for the chairmanship, Kaufmann promised to raise more money than the libertarians have, to be fair to every faction of the party and to improve voter contact efforts.
“You’re not going to get me to look backwards,” he told reporters after he was picked. “If you want that, come and sit in my history class.”